Summer holidays

I don’t know what it is about the summer holidays this year but I’m finding them a bit disconcerting.  I don’t seem to be able to keep a grip on what day it is for one thing – every day feels like a Saturday which is great in one respect but too many Saturdays are starting to feel a bit peculiar.

I’m used to my days being organised around school runs and dog walks and at the moment they aren’t.  I’m thoroughly enjoying not having to be up early and rushing around, watching the clock hands move with alarming speed from “on time” to “late”, but it’s also making me quite lethargic and I could happily spend the days doing very little at all.  We’ve done some out-and-about-ing and some pyjama day-ing and now we’re up to the clearing-out-ing which small daughter in particular is resisting quite spectacularly.  I don’t blame her, really; school holidays are meant to be fun, not for clearing out your bedroom (or the garage or the attic) but the amount of stuff that seems to have accumulated recently is feeling quite claustrophobic and Something Needs to be Done.

On the positive side, small daughter has found all kinds of treasures in her room that she thought were lost forever – but the downside is that now she doesn’t want to part with any of them and by some kind of alchemy the amount of stuff that she owns seems to have grown to the point where there’s hardly any room for her even though all she’s done is opened a few drawers.  I’m hoping this is just the bit where it gets worse before it gets better!

It’s not all lazy news, though.  I have managed to stir myself to get some things finished and I’m ahead of the game with the Yarndale Sock Line socks this year.  Last year, I went to collect them from Lucy at the beginning of September and we had a wonderful morning opening all the parcels (you can read about that here).  I couldn’t believe how generous people had been with their time and their yarn, knitting socks to send from all over the world to be hung up on the Sock Line and then gifted.  Already, I can see that this year won’t be any different.

I’ve been able to collect the parcels from Lucy pretty much as they come in this year so that I can get them catalogued and up on Pinterest for everyone to admire a bit earlier.  And admire them I am sure you all will – once again, people have been so kind and generous with their woolly gifts and I know that they are going to be very gratefully received.

I like to take my time to properly look at every pair, to see the time and care that has been spent on something that’s going to be given to a stranger.  Each pair, to me, feels like a smile and a hug wrapped up in yarn and it’s a joy and an honour to be part of the process.  Thank you so much to everyone who has sent socks so far, whether they’re here with me in Winwick, waiting patiently in Skipton or somewhere in the post!

The first of the socks are up on Pinterest now – you can find the page here – and I’ll be adding more pairs as they come in.  I think it looks brilliant to be able to see them all together, and I will of course be telling you where all the socks are donated so that you can see where your pair has gone to brighten up someone’s day.  You can see where last year’s pairs went here, and if you’ve got any suggestions for where this year’s pairs might be welcome, then do let me know!

I’ve finished my own contribution to the Yarndale Sock Line but haven’t put the label on yet so I need to get on and do that so they can be put away safely with the others.  These are knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in Tequila Sunrise.  The colours make me think of ice lollies which is always a happy thought for me, so I hope someone else thinks so too!

I’ve made a start on my Yarndale sheep – currently in flat pack form – and I’m hoping to get that finished before the weekend.  It’s a really quick knit (or it would be if I didn’t keep getting distracted by other projects …).  You can find the post about the Yarndale sheep and the pattern if you want to get involved here – there’s a knit and a crochet version so there’s lots of opportunity to use up some of your leftovers to increase the flock!

I’ve also finished my Exmoor shawl which I’m very pleased with.  The colours blend from deep purple through blues to silver and back again – this yarn would have driven me mad if I’d tried to make socks with it, but it’s just perfect for a shawl.

One of my favourite moments with shawl knitting is blocking when you can see the colours and the shape beautifully (even if the old towel that it’s blocking on isn’t the most attractive!).

When I came to the end of the pattern, I still had quite a lot of yarn left and although I had hoped that I would be able to finish with the purple, I was at the cast off point at the silver colour.  I was extremely pleased with myself for managing to work out how to extend the border so that I could use up a bit more yarn and cast off with purple.  I’m no maths whizz so at first the thought of working out changes to a lace pattern seemed like something quite unattainable, but with the help of some graph paper and coloured crayons, I got there in the end.  It just shows what you can do sometimes when you sit down and think about it!

We’ve still got two weeks of the holidays left and small daughter’s sterling efforts in her bedroom yesterday, a few boxes less in the attic and a trip to the charity shop mean that we all feel much less cluttered and we’re going to make the most of the rest of the the summer break.  It feels like a weight has been lifted!

Finally, before I go off and do something else today, I hope you won’t mind if I remind you about the British Knitting Awards.  I was delighted to be nominated for these industry awards earlier this year and the voting closes on 28 August.  If you live in the UK and you would like to vote for me (and I would love it if you did!) then I’m in the Favourite Book and Favourite Knitting Blog categories, and you can be in with a chance to win a spa break or a rather hefty yarn bundle simply by voting.  You can get through to the voting page by clicking on the picture below – and thank you! I very much appreciate all your support!

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20 Responses

  1. Angela says:

    Hi. Your post has made me smile as I feel just the same about the holidays. I too have reached the 'sorting out' stage. A good couple of hours was spent earlier in the week sorting my daughters craft drawers. Very therapeutic! However,I know that over the next week or so I will transition into panic mode as the ends of the holidays looms. Hey ho. Let's enjoy it while we can xxx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's not just me then! I'm feeling so much better now some of the junk has been re-homed (where does it all come from?!) and this last two weeks is for fun! 🙂 xx

  2. The House with the Blue Door says:

    I know what you mean about the summer holidays. I was very industrious to begin with, ticking off lots of things on my lengthy 'to do' list. However, I'm beginning to feel a bit lethargic too. That said, I'm not in too big a hurry for them to end! Your shawl is just beautiful – well done!
    Cathy x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      The thought of the school run on wet and windy Autumn mornings is not at all appealing, is it? Still, with any luck after such a long rest it won't feel too bad. And thank you, I loved knitting the shawl – it's nice to have a change! xx

  3. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    I had a fright today when I realised September begins next week – how did that happen? Your shawl is absolutely beautiful and I love the purple edging. The socks look great and the range of colours is amazing. My socks are almost finished and will be in the post soon. Enjoy the rest of the holiday and a few more mornings not dictated by the school run!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      September begins NEXT WEEK?! Oh no! I hadn't realised that either! I'll be needing the shawl as a scarf before I know it! xx

  4. Angel Jem says:

    That shawl is lovely; I love how the colours fade in and out together. And big congrats on the Yarndale socks again! I didn't think I'd make it this year, but I figured out what the hell, so I'm off to see it again!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh fab, do come by and say hello if you can (I'll be in the knit n natter lounge), it'll be lovely to see you! xx

  5. Unknown says:

    Hi Christine – I love a good declutter … so good for the soul! We're busy getting ready to return to the UK so there is ALOT of that going on here at the moment! It's amazing just how little "stuff" we actually need. I found this charity which looks pretty good for the socks. Maybe worth a look? Am also checking out some others and will send links to you. Happy chucking!!! xx

  6. Unknown says:

    Here's the link

  7. Unknown says:

    Here's another one….

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thanks, Laura! I'd assumed you were coming back for a visit, not permanently so yes, I can imagine you have quite a lot of work to do! Thanks for the links as well, I'll check them out xx

  8. Lilly's Mom says:

    You have been busy. I need to spend a couple of days decluttering my home. I'm excited for your sock display at Yarndale; it's a very worthy cause. The shawl you created is so lovely with the gradient yarn. Beautiful! Have a wonderful evening, Pat xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'll definitely be taking plenty of photos of the socks again, Pat, so even though you're so far away you'll be able to see them. Hope you're keeping well and the weather's not too hot for you and Lilly! xx

  9. Loraine McLean says:

    Hi Christine, I'm currently knitting an Exmoor shawl too, in shades of green. Yours is beautiful. My two are all grown up and working now, no summer hols to fill in. I was working when they were at school, it was a big shuffle between grandparents and out of school clubs then. I may ask my hubby if he fancies a day out in Yorkshire, haha, I don't drive!! Enjoy the last week x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ooh, your shawl is going to be beautiful too in shades of green; it's a really lovely pattern for showing off a nice ball of yarn! I'm very lucky that I've been able to be around over the summer holidays for my girls – although I'm not sure they appreciate it when I start making them clear out their rooms! xx

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hello Christine
    I am coming to Yarndale with my 2 daughters (from Canada). I have looked everywhere for the type of yarn ball winder that Lucy of Attic24 uses. It's not available in Canada or the Canadian Amazon and I'm wondering if you know of a place near Yarndale where it could be purchased? Possibly at Yarndale itself? I'd appreciate any help you could give. Ruth

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hello Ruth, thanks for your comment – you're going to love Yarndale and I hope you and your daughters have a safe trip over. Do come and say hello – I'll be in the knit n natter lounge with Lucy so you'll find us both in the same place! Lucy's ball winder is very like this one that is available on Canadian Amazon – – there are quite a few to choose from and they all do the same job. Lucy's is an old one which is why you probably can't find the same brand. You may well find one at Yarndale as there will be lots of exhibitors selling all kinds of products but I couldn't say for sure. I hope that helps! xx

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Christine. How did you find it on Amazon? Yes it looks very much like Lucy's. I'll order it online instead of buying it at Yarndale so I have more room in my suitcase for wool! We look forward to meeting you at Yarndale – Thanks again, Ruth

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I just entered "ball winder" into the search bar and there it was! It must have been hiding from you 😉 xx

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